MASSAGE THERAPY OPENING GUIDELINES
Employees & Clients The CDC guides us to implement new procedures for our clients and employees.
1. Use an intake to help ensure that no one who enters your office has knowingly been in
contact with someone who has COVID-19.
2. Place admittance signs at the front door explaining your policies and procedures.
3. Many states are requiring masks for both employees and clients to help slow the spread of
COVID-19. While you must provide them for your employees, consider your policy for clients
who do not have them. If they do not have a mask, will you provide it for free or charge them
for it? If your client is unable to wear a mask, and your state has an order requiring it, your
client would be considered contraindicated for massage until the order is lifted.
4. We are asked to take temperatures with a thermal or ear thermometer when a client and
employee enters the office. As customary in our industry, we are to deny service or request
the employee to remain at home if the temperature is above 99.9.
5. Consider having clients wait in their cars until the therapist is ready to work with them.
6. Request only the client being treated enter the office. If a minor or client needing help
dressing, the person accompanying them also needs to be screened.
7. Have disinfecting gel, tissues and no touch trash cans throughout the office.
8. Encourage employees to visit the CDC websites on respiratory etiquette and hand
washing and place reminder posters strategically throughout the office.
9. If you have items for sale, it is recommended you have a protocol in place before opening
and train each employee on this protocol. Place signage requesting staff to help with selecting
items. The staff should use gloves when touching items and ensure the gloves are changed
between clients and disinfected if cash or other items high-touch items are touched. Ensure
each item a client touches is cleaned.
10. Highly touchable items — magazines, brochures, rack cards, business cards, samples —
must be removed and stored in a closed container, and the therapist should hand clients these
items as needed or requested.
Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing
Cleaning disinfection and sanitizing are not all the same. These three processes are different
from one another.
11. In the therapy room, we use oils and other oil-based products that create a film on
surfaces. These items must be cleaned first and any soil removed before we are able to
effectively disinfect or sanitize.
There are many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaners and disinfectants
that are useful in a therapy setting. (Access the EPA’s “List N: Disinfectants for Use Against
SARS-CoV-2 here.) Each of these products has instructions and time limits for disinfecting.
Many massage suppliers and Amazon Business have cleaning and disinfecting supplies in
stock. You are also able to use 1/5 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water or 4 tsp. bleach to 1
quart of water.
12. As an employer you are to create a checklist for cleaning that is to be kept as a record of
cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing for your office.
13. Every surface that has been touched — such as bottles, knobs and light switches — needs
to be first cleaned then disinfected. Other surfaces — such as floors, containers and chairs —
may be disinfected with appropriate disinfectants.
14. Tools and other items used must first be cleaned then disinfected or sanitized according to
both the tool’s instructions and the EPA-approved disinfection or sanitizing products’
instructions. Many therapists use sanitizing cabinets that have been approved for sanitizing
15. Restrooms must be cleaned and disinfected after use, and a schedule kept to indicate
when they were last cleaned. (We’ve all seen publish restrooms’ cleaning schedules posted to
the wall.) Areas to check off include the toilet seat, flush handle, doorknob and light switch.
16. High touch areas — doorknobs, light switches, counters, etc.— must be cleaned and
disinfected frequently and on a schedule.
17. Requirements pertaining to laundry are not much different than what we usually do,
except we are to wear gloves and possibly masks when touching soiled linens and contain
the linens until they are washed.
The CDC’s purpose of the laundry portion of the standard is “to protect the worker from
exposure to potentially infectious materials during collection, handling and sorting of
contaminated textiles through the use of personal protective equipment, proper work
practices, containment, labeling, hazard communication and ergonomics.”
Every single piece of linen that is used — including sheets, blankets, towels and any other
washable, soft-surfaced item — must be washed each and every time it is used. It is
recommended to separate the laundry in the treatment room then either place it in a closed
container transport it to the area where it will be washed, or to place it directly in the wash.
The CDC suggests not shaking the items and to clean out the storage container once empty.
The CDC recommends using the hottest water allowed for your items, soap, and either bleach
or an oxygen product to boost cleaning.
It is recommended to place a waterproof cover on your table. You can place this over a
warmer or an egg crate. If you do this, you can clean and disinfect the cover after removing